Life on the open road beckoned to Chris and Sharon Smith, so they sold their house and went touring in their Bessacarr before moving in to their new home

"Yes, of course we can move out whenever the purchaser wishes,” we told our estate agent. Our home of 27 years now displayed a bold ‘For sale’ sign and our new home would not be available for us to move in until a further seven months had passed. But if we were lucky enough to get a quick sale, we could live in 'Bessie', our 16-year-old Bessacarr motorhome. We would save money on household bills, which would offset our campsite costs – and just consider the freedom and flexibility we’d have. What an adventure! 

So this is why we put all our worldly goods into storage, redirected our mail to a helpful relative, parked our car at the farm where Bessie normally resided and drove off to start our nomadic life. 

We wild-camped, or stayed on The Camping and Caravanning Club sites, small CS sites and picturesque Camping in the Forest sites. We pitched up on the driveways of friends and had a sociable time without any need to drive home at the end of the day.

Once, we had a large campsite all to ourselves – which we found a little unsettling! Another time, along with three other units, we christened a new CS site as it opened its doors for the first time. We explored places near home that we’d never had a chance to visit. Now, at last, we had time on our hands. No jobs were waiting to be done. 

We visited campsites that we’d only read about in magazines, as well as our old favourites, because now we had time to fill rather than a holiday to plan. We attended the Bristol Balloon Fiesta and spent a wonderful day exploring the Bristol waterfront. We had lived less than an hour away from this great city in the South West of England, but had never got there before. We spent a leisurely day strolling along the Kennet and Avon Canal, watching canal boats navigate the 29 locks at Caen Hill in Devizes, Wiltshire. It's famous for being the longest continuous flight of locks in Britain, and is only 30 minutes from our former home. It’s amazing how much freedom living in a motorhome can bring. 

We got a mixed reaction when people asked for our address. “We are homeless,” we replied and, after the initial surprised or sympathetic reaction, we explained our situation. Their responses were always the same: “How exciting – no responsibilities, no chores and no bills.”

As our date for moving in to the new house drew near, I felt sad that our carefree nomadic life was coming to an end. We could happily have forgotten about the house and carried on enjoying the open road for a lot longer, as so many other motorcaravanners have done before us. 

Practical Motorhome's 'Tour that changed my life' series proves that we're not alone in thinking like this. Some go mooching into the sunset full-time at the age of 53, like Hilary Cox, while others decide to explore Australia in a campervan, like Jan and Mel Wood. And others, like Elaine Whitfield, discovered the joys of motorhomes in their youth and can now look back on a 50-year love affair with motorhomes.

We would not have missed this opportunity for anything. Our faithful Bessie gave us a roof over our heads and full catering on board, no matter where we ended up. 

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